Picturesque village

The eye-catching €1.5m sale on the West Cork cape is set to make waves from afar

FANCY your own West Cork headland and a big bite out of the Wild Atlantic Way?

One beside a busy beach and the sheltered hollow of a pier for mackerel fishing?

A dream location a few minutes’ walk from a picturesque village, with one of the best restaurants in the Pèlerins country, among other cafés, bars, shops, schools and services?

Overview of what is offered in a unique opportunity. Tom Vaughan Pictures

Would you like your own land pad to come with a near overabundance of natural beauty along a jagged coastal strip?

And, views of the ocean and passing boats?

The Galley Head lighthouse at night? Own a surviving wall of a historic watchtower and view the ruins of a castle now stranded on a rock?

All of this, and more, plus the strong “memory” and romantic remains of a beautiful old farmhouse with character, once substantial, and which could perhaps be rehabilitated?

Asking too much?

Well, maybe not, for those looking for an exceptional slice of West Cork and the cash to fund it.

Lush land - and what a location!
Lush land – and what a location!

Look no further. Come and take a look at Downeen, a slightly jutting promontory just south-west of Rosscarbery, with one of its broad land boundaries running along and above Pier Road by Warren Strand.

The View: Downeen Castle is all on its own - literally.
The View: Downeen Castle is all on its own – literally.

Then most of the 122 acres ends only at the ocean, and by the standing remains of Downeen Castle, a shard of stone now stranded on a rock cut from the promontory after the cliff fell, and the erosion saw access denied centuries back, except for gulls.

In the parlance of property or the pantheon of justly used cliches, it is indeed a price offer, the equivalent of which only ever comes up once in a blue moon shimmering on the waves.

Listed to estate agent John Hodnett of Hodnett Forde, this is what has been known in his Rosscarbery area for decades as ‘Cahalanes Farm’, the single home of three siblings, two sisters and their brother, the last of whom died decades ago.

The 122 acres of land here – being reasonably offered in two lots as buyer interest may well be diversified and extend beyond ‘mere’ agricultural interest – were once part of an even larger agricultural holding, and the remains of the Cahalane family home also seem to confirm the impression that it was a fairly well-to-do farm and household during its heyday and peak.

Interior: photo Tommy Barker
Interior: photo Tommy Barker

But, that heyday dates back perhaps around half a century: the house with the remnants of a long-gone elegance has been in decline for decades now, becoming roofless, open to the elements and greening inside.

Quite evocative, but obviously dangerous in parts with collapsed ceilings and floors, it has the spectral outline of ivy-covered window openings, and some internal joinery, some like a fanlight and a few door jambs, have survived, little more than interlacing ornaments.

At best it’s a total restoration job, sadly some might consider it a past salvation. Because it’s so overgrown, it might even be hard to make out its original size: perhaps 3,000 square feet, at one estimate, and the dense growth surrounding it also reveals glimpses of ancient buildings. of farm behind.

Right now, its happiest inhabitant are the bees, as the land is home to a dozen beehives: someone has been busy, even collecting honey.

Now we go from honey to money.

There are two beneficiary families from the Cahalane farm, and the all-inclusive guide price for the set is around 1.5 million euros.

There is a division of the old house on seven wooded, overgrown acres that could hold any number of horticultural delights at €250,000, with the balance of 114 acres offered at €1.25 million, and that includes the last standing wall of a centuries-old sentry. or watchtower, at the southern end of the land folio.

Old signal tower
Old signal tower

In terms of land, that equates to €10,500 an acre, a progressive farmer won’t blink at that kind of valuation, even though some land might need what they would consider ‘improvement’. Could he go another way entirely? To be bought by a left-of-field buyer who would resuscitate him? Or, maybe someone could see it as a hobby opportunity, or a hobby farm, or just a place to safely put some money, knowing that the land is no longer made ( in fact, here it is eroded, still so slightly frayed at cliff and shoreline!) There is not enough land for a golf course or a replica of the Old Head course, although there is found on another headland in the wild Atlantic: maybe enough for nine holes, but that’s unlikely.

An investor or someone who doesn’t plan to live here and farm it themselves could get €250 or €300 per acre if rented, and it could generate an income of maybe €30,000 per year, and given that it would be exempt from tax under specific rules which could be the same as a net income of €60,000 or €70,000, says property specialist John Hodnett.

While it’s not the most desirable land in farming terms, its setting elevates it to another level entirely – and Rosscarbery has been a property hotspot of late – so competing farmer bidders could have your work cut out to secure it as a purchase.

Work to do.....?  Photo Tommy Barker
Work to do…..? Photo Tommy Barker

Mr Hodnett enthused that he was in a pivotal position, with a house in ruins but offering ‘great future potential, and summed up that ‘this is certainly one of the finest farms to come to market from West Cork in recent times, offering quality land and exceptional views of the Atlantic Ocean, Warren Beach and the Rosscarbery Estuary.

Earlier this year, the same estate agency offered a 0.72 acre site at Rosscarbery’s Downeen (or, An Dúinín, little fort) with full, unrestricted planning for a 2,200 square foot contemporary home at €250,000 , the same guide as the hauntingly abandoned ruin here on seven acres is listed at: they’ll have very different buyers, that’s for sure.

Indicative of the unpredictable nature of sales in and around Rosscarbery, a 1950s bungalow on Warren Strand/Cregane beach (which just lost its Blue Flag status this year) went on sale three years ago for 395,000 € made the trifle of €690,000.

By contrast, Rosscarbery’s Mercy Convent, an 1890s building on three acres with several old cottages behind, in an imperious setting overlooking the lagoon, was also sold at what was a bargain price in comparison, purchased by Franc de television, alias Peter Kelly, for an estimated amount of less than €450,000 and whose future plans for use could soon be revealed.

A little Downeen in the heel?  Photo Tommy Barker
A little Downeen in the heel? Photo Tommy Barker

VERDICT: Farmers may be strained to see non-farmer offerings here, while other wealthy types will head to Downeen – the likes of this one might not return for years.